Monday, June 24, 2013

The Parable of the Great Pearl

Hi Godly Play Teachers, Welcome to our lesson for June 30, the Parable of the Great Pearl.
In a world like ours, which places such importance on having things, it's a great story to help us explore the greatest treasure one could possess: God's kingdom and a relationship with God. What does it mean to sell all that we have to obtain this treasure? I bet the kids can help us figure this out.

The wondering questions are in the book. They include:
1. I wonder if the person was happy with the great pearl.
2. I wonder what the merchant is going to do now.
3. I wonder why the seller was willing to give up something so precious.
4. I wonder if the seller has a name.
5. I wonder if the merchant has a name.
6. I wonder what the great pearl could really be?
7. I wonder what could be so precious that a person would exchange everything for it?
8. I wonder if you have ever come close to the great pearl.
9. I wonder where this whole place could really be.

Thank you for having an adult take time to jot down the children's responses to these questions.

Idea Sparkers for Our Give a Gift to God Time:

1. Make a "pearl" necklace. Hobby shops (Michaels, Hobby Lobby) has fake pearls that you can string. Each student could make themselves a necklace using one pearl and yarn, along with whatever other work they choose to do today.

2. What does the kingdom of God look like? What makes it such a priceless treasure?
Children could draw a mural together or individual pictures. What could they show people doing in the kingdom of God? Is nature in the kingdom of God? How are people treating nature and each other?

3. Children could make their own parable set, so they can retell this parable.

4. Make/buy a "pearl" snack to share. I'm still thinking on how to do this. Maybe like a Mexican wedding cookie but with no nuts? (Remember that we're nut free on the hallway due to allergies.) Something that looks like a pearl...any ideas?

Thanks, y'all!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Hi Godly Play Teachers! Welcome to our lesson for June 23, the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

What a wonderful story about what it means to be a neighbor, and our responsibilities as followers of The Way to help those around us. You might want to include time in your morning to go visit the Good Samaritan statue near the remembrance garden.

Here are the wondering questions. I'd love to share the children's responses in our weekly newsletter. Thank you for writing down their responses.

Wondering Questions:
1. I wonder who is the neighbor to the person who was hurt, had everything taken from him, and was left by the side of the road half dead?
2. I wonder what would happen if the people in the parable were women and not men?
3. I wonder what would happen if the person finding the injured traveler were a child?
4. I wonder what it means to be a neighbor.
5. I wonder if you've ever had anyone be a neighbor to you like this Samaritan was to the hurt man.
6. I wonder if you've ever been the one who was the Good Samaritan?
7. I wonder how you can be a Good Samaritan kind of neighbor to others.

Idea Sparkers for our Gift to God Time

Here are some ideas:
1. Children make get well cards as a way to help others, like the Good Samaritan in the story
2. Children act out the story. (My camera will be in its usual place and takes pretty good video. Please use it! I'd be glad to show you how!)
3. Use wooden clothespins to make all the characters as they've done here (clothespins are in our resource room- we have lots! No need to buy them!) and have the children retell the story using their set. 
3. Children could make a collage or drawing on who is our neighbor.
4. Children could make a collage or drawing on How I Can Be a Good Samaritan.
5. You could also go with the What Would Jesus Do theme. Make a bracelet with WWJD, or a mural of the story, or act out scenes of different conflicts and ask the question, "What would Jesus do?"
6. If you've visited the Good Samaritan statue, why not ask the children if they'd like to try to make their own with play dough or quick dry clay? You could always take a mini-field trip and go visit first!

Love, Becky

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Parable of the Good Shepherd

Hi Godly Play Teachers! Welcome to our lesson for June 16, the Parable of The Good Shepherd.

What a beautiful story that so perfectly depicts Jesus--the one who would (and did) lay down his life for his sheep! The parable is full of so much meaning, so many layers that the children can explore. I'm sure they'll be ready to talk about their own times when they've "found the good grass" as well as times where they've felt that they (or others they know) have been through places of danger. It's a great time to share our own such experiences and how our faith in God helped us make it through. Most every child has a story to share about being lost and found. I'm hoping you'll enjoy lots of discussion with this lesson!
There are wondering questions within the story script for this lesson. I'll have them in the classrooms for you to write in their responses.

Idea Sparkers for our Create a Gift for God time:
There are two ways to go here. (Or maybe more!) The children can either reproduce the parable in some way, or they can explore their own experiences with what the parable talks about: being lost and found, their own faith in the Good Shepherd, their own times of good grass and cool water or times of danger and faith.

Ideas for reproducing the parable:

1. Let the children make their own miniature parable boxes with this week's parable inside. If you want to buy small boxes, just purchase them, give me a receipt and I'll reimburse you. We have green felt in the resource room. The kids could use fun foam for the pen and the water and the dangerous places, and could make the sheep however they want, with clothespins and cotton balls or their own ideas. Some links for sheep are here and here.
They could draw and cut out a wolf and the shepherd.

2. They could make their own sheep and shepherd puppets at the links above. (in #1)

Ideas for exploring the parable in terms of their own experiences:
1. The children could make a class mural/picture of how it feels to be lost (on one side) and found (on the other side). The title could be something like The Good Shepherd Takes Care of the Sheep or something like that.
2. They could illustrate My Good Shepherd Calls My Name, drawing the Good Shepherd and themselves.
3. This would be a perfect time to study and illustrate the 23rd Psalm!

Love, Becky

Monday, June 3, 2013

Jesus Visits Martha and Mary

Hi Godly Play Teachers!
Welcome to our story for June 9, Jesus Visits Martha and Mary, taken from Luke 10:38-42.

I love this story because it does such a good job of raising questions about hospitality- hospitality that we try to practice  and the unique, radical hospitality of God.

Truth be told, I think I also love this scripture because I can really relate to Martha's predicament. What kind of hospitality is important in our own lives? To what extent is it important? I find it interesting-and comforting- that Jesus doesn't disapprove of Martha's focused cleaning and cooking and all her caring for her guests. His response to her frustration of finding herself doing all the work ("Lord, make my sister help me!") is to turn the focus to his own brand of hospitality to Mary.

As I know you know, children will need help understanding what the word hospitality means. Does God ask us to show hospitality to others? What about God's form of hospitality to us?

Of course, one of the big questions this story raises is just who gets to receive God's hospitality. You'll want to remind the children that in Jesus's time, rabbis did not allow women to sit at their feet and study the Torah, to listen and ask questions. Yet Jesus encourages it. Who would Jesus welcome to sit at his feet today, to act as a disciple? Are there people that some might choose to exclude? Children are so good at helping us broaden our circle!

Ideas to Get the Children Started for the Give a Gift to God Time
*Our creative time works best when the child feels ownership over his own work--that it comes from her ideas and is merely inspired by the ideas we share to get them started.

Here are some ideas from which they can springboard. I'm sure you can add even better ones. Please feel free to share in the comments.

1. Focus on Retelling the Story
*Each child could recreate a set of the Godly Play materials for themselves either 2 dimensionally, through drawing the pieces and cutting them out, or 3 dimensionally, with clay (bucket, plates, etc), clothespins (Jesus and the sisters) and other materials-a twig broom, etc.
* Make a mural of the story on butcher paper.
*Act out the story, either set in Bible times, or set in modern day. Let the children perform it for each other or another class. Children could play the roles of Jesus, Mary and Martha, and other children (who might be more shy) could be among of the 72 guests.

2. Focus on the theme of Who Would Jesus Want to Sit at His Feet?
I can imagine this being successful as an individual project (either a drawing or a collage from magazine pictures) or a class project, with each child picking what kind of person she would like to draw. Would Jesus want the poor, the rich? Different races? The old? The young? Families? Singles? Prisoners? Sick people? Well people? Lonely people? Happy? They could even draw themselves! In fact, I love that idea!

3. The children could work on their hospitality skills. Some could prepare some kind of food as Martha did (maybe Bible times food- grapes, raisins, figs, cheese, bread, etc.) Some could sweep and clean. Others could be Mary, listening to a teacher read a story. Afterwards, the group could talk about how it felt to play each role. Then the children could take a look at Matthew 4:4 "Jesus answered, 'It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"  This verse comes from Jesus's desert experience (his quoting from Deuteronomy,) but it applies to this story as well. The children could write the verse in their own words and illustrate it with the Mary & Martha scene. 

 4. The last time we did this lesson, we had a Love Luncheon with Senior Adults scheduled for the following Sunday, so our fourth graders practiced hospitality during Sunday school by preparing decorations for the luncheon.

5. Our second graders drew pictures of what each of us would do to entertain Jesus if he came to our house.

Any other ideas? Please share!
Love, Becky